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Nationalities with a Head Start in Obtaining Spanish Citizenship

Nationals of Latin America, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal, or people of Sephardic origin, as well as grandchildren and children of Spaniards who fled the Civil War or those who went into exile for political reasons.

In Spain, there are different ways to obtain Spanish nationality. One of them is obtaining Spanish nationality “by residence.” As a general rule, this requires residing in Spain for ten years regularly, continuously, and immediately before its processing. However, in different cases, this period is reduced. For example, the required residency period is reduced to five years for those who hold refugee status and to one year in specific cases[1]. In the case at hand, it will be two years for nationals of Ibero-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal, and people of Sephardic origin.

Another possible route is opened by the Law of Democratic Memory, known as the Grandchildren’s Law, which provides a more beneficial and specific route as a reparative measure for people who suffered exile and, therefore, planned for some of their descendants. About this, it has been pointed out that this law has a significant impact on Latin Americans since, although not exclusively, it is “where much of the Spanish diaspora went in the last century”[2]. In particular, this law opens a temporal range that allows opting, within a period of two years from October 21, 2022, for Spanish nationality to “those born outside of Spain of a father or mother, grandfather or grandmother, who originally were Spanish, and who, as a consequence of having suffered exile for political, ideological, or belief reasons, or for reasons of sexual orientation and identity, had lost or renounced Spanish nationality”. In addition, protected by the same legal norm, those “sons and daughters born abroad of Spanish women who lost their nationality by marrying foreigners before the entry into force of the Constitution of 1978” and the “sons and daughters of legal age of those Spaniards to whom their nationality of origin was recognized by virtue of the right of option” may also acquire Spanish nationality[3].

At ILS, we specialize in managing the different procedures for acquiring Spanish nationality. Regardless of where you are located, our lawyers will help you determine which procedure for acquiring Spanish nationality best suits your circumstances and characteristics, what particularities should be taken into account, and how to navigate it satisfactorily.

[1] Vid, i.e., Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, “Nacionalidad española por residencia”, España. En: https://www.exteriores.gob.es/Consulados/caracas/es/ServiciosConsulares/Paginas/index.aspx?scca=Nacionalidad&scco=Venezuela&scd=45&scs=Nacionalidad+espa%C3%B1ola+por+residencia

[2] RIVAS MOLINA, F., “La ‘ley de nietos’, una nueva vía a la ciudadanía española desde América Latina”, El País, 2022. En: https://elpais.com/espana/2023-02-26/decenas-de-miles-de-descendientes-de-espanoles-piden-la-nacionalidad-por-la-ley-de-nietos.html   

[3] Ley 20/2022, de 19 de octubre, de Memoria Democrática. En: https://www.boe.es/buscar/act.php?id=BOE-A-2022-17099